The Negative Side of Affirmative Action

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The Negative Side of Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action…Is it positive or negative? “Remembering the Negative Side of Affirmative Action,” a reflection of the graduate college life and experience of Lisa Chavez, a Mexican American, is a strong article of the negative aspects of affirmative action. Published in the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2002, the article provides a somewhat modern approach or view to the controversial issue. Chavez’s article addresses her own personal experience of teaching a class filled with affirmative actions students, brought in from previous- offender’s programs. She provides details of the situations that she was placed in, and their effect of her teaching at that time and in the future. This article is a valuable example of a negative view on affirmative action.

This article is very persuasive thanks in part to all of the direct evidence she provides. Chavez discusses her job offer to teach a college level English class to some immigrant and previous offenders that came from the local jail.

I thought that affirmative action would extend a helping hand to those who might otherwise learn about available opportunities…I learned however, that affirmative
action could be a double-edged sword, even though its intended beneficiaries.(1)

This example gives the framework for the argument she is trying to present. The majority of these students were unwilling to learn and resulted in using negative gestures toward Chavez in order to “strict up a rise” with the other students.

They took every chance to embarrass me, and I soon found out that open-ended writing assignments usually turned into fantasies of what they would like to do to me if they could get me alone sometime. (1)

Chavez also explains the repercussions that the university was willing to hand down. The university was unwilling to discipline the students; they merely told Chavez to handle the problem herself. This left Chavez with no place to turn and limited ideas. Later Chavez tried to incorporate the student’s ethnic background with the lesson being taught. This leads to Chavez receiving threatening phone calls, and damages to her personal property. This evidence provides a more believable thought for the author’s argument.

By using Pathos, or emotions, she appeals to her audience. By looking for sympathy, caused by all the bad events that had taken place, Chavez is able to grab the heartstrings of her audience.

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“I had no idea who was harassing me. It was hard to imagine what I had done to engender such hatred, but I was fairly certain it was one of the students I had flunked the previous spring” (4) . Her examples of things happening to her and her final discussion to leave the city to teach someplace else is a huge step that definitely is a powerful strain on emotions. This is a very relevant part of her argument.

In a very similar circumstance, her use of Logic or Logos, also allows her to appeal to the emotions of her audience. “I accepted the offer but soon discovered that I had struck no bargain. Nothing I had encountered in my teaching assignments to that point had prepared me for the problems I would face in the classroom that spring.” (2) Her examination of what logically to do with her students left her in a confused state. By using information that could be thought as more understandable to her incompliant students, her students the harassment grew even more directly shot her down. This feeling is easily understandable by an audience. This too is a persuasive argument in her favor.

Finally her use of credibility or Ethos, allows her to tie everything together, and provide valid examples from her own experience. Speaking from her own experiences allows the reader to see how things actually were. This allows the reader to also see how things were handle, which in turn leads to a decision on their part of the article effectiveness. This article is made more believable thanks to Chavez’s use of mostly Pathos and Logos, with a small amount of Ethos to tie things together.

In conclusion, the article written by Chavez is a good example of an article which is persuasive through the use of examples and emotional attachment to the store she is telling. This article can be viewed as persuasive because it hits on many emotions, logical thoughts, and evidence to support all her claims. The evidence that Chavez provided allowed all of her readers to firmly grasp the concept that affirmative action, in cases like Chavez’s.

Works Citied

Chavez, Lisa. "Remembering the Negative Sides of Affirmative Action". Chronicle of Higher Education. 2002


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